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Debunking the Myths About Speech Therapy

Have you ever heard a conversation that went something like this?

 

Worried Mom – “I’m really concerned about my child’s speech. She’s two and half and doesn’t seem to be saying many words yet.”
Encouraging Friend – “Hmmm, well, maybe her older brother is just talking for her too much.”
Worried Mom – “Honestly, he kind of does his own thing so I don’t think that’s it. The other day she got so upset because we weren’t giving her the toy she wanted. Instead of telling us which toy she just kept pointing and grunting. By the time we figured out what toy she wanted we had a huge meltdown on our hands.”
Encouraging Friend – “Sounds like a normal 2 year old to me. Just wait it out. She’ll catch up.”
As a speech therapist, I hear stories like this all the time. Sweet moms and dads come into our clinic with a three, four, or even five year old kiddo and say, “I wish I hadn’t waited. I wish I had listened to my gut. I knew something wasn’t quite right.” So, what keeps parents from taking that step? I think it could be a few different things: fear of the unknown, lack of knowledge about local resources available, concern that others around them with think differently about their child, and maybe even some worry about the cost.

 

So, let’s tackle some myths about speech therapy for children five years
and under to help you find the truth.

 

MYTH: If my child comes in for an evaluation at your clinic, I’ll have to pay an arm and a leg. I can’t afford it.

TRUTH: Many insurance companies cover speech therapy services and while you may have to meet your deductible or pay a co-pay, you might be surprised at how affordable the services can be. At TheraCare we will call to check these benefits for you and we won’t schedule an evaluation or treatment without letting you know the costs upfront.

 

MYTH: You think everyone needs speech therapy and you see kids for services even if they don’t need it.

TRUTH: As speech therapists, we follow what are called developmental norms. Research has shown us the ages at which a child should be able to perform certain tasks and the testing that we use always goes back to these norms. If your child falls below what is considered normal, we will talk to you and come up with a plan that best fits the child’s needs. If your child falls within a normal or above average range, we will give your child an awesome prize and a sticker for having fun with us and send you on your way to enjoy the day!

 

MYTH: My child didn’t qualify for First Steps, Early Childhood Special Education, or Public School therapy services, so they can’t come see you for speech therapy.

TRUTH: If your child didn’t qualify for services within these programs that does not mean that they fall into a developmentally normal range. Strict guidelines have been put in place to determine eligibility in these settings and, while there must be a line drawn somewhere, there are certainly children who may not qualify but could still benefit from therapy services to address speech and/or language concerns.

 

The bottom line?

An evaluation of speech and language skills can never hurt. If you have a concern, call and find out more before you count out an evaluation as an option. Providing your child with speech therapy early and consistently can decrease the need services later while increasing the opportunity for success in school and life.

 

Do you have questions about speech therapy for your child? Wondering if there are other myths we could help to clear up? Leave a comment on our blog or on social media (Facebook | Twitter) and we will answer your questions!

2 Comments

  • Lillian Schaeffer April 19, 2017 - 1:59pm

    Thanks for bringing to my attention that speech therapy is for children who haven’t hit certain norms. My son has been having some issues learning to talk, and I feel like he should have certain things figured out by now. I want to make sure he doesn’t fall behind because of slow development, so maybe it would be a good idea to take him to a speech therapist and see if he could benefit from that.

    Reply

    • Melanie Stinnett April 20, 2017 - 2:40pm

      Lillian, We are so glad that this post was helpful to you! An evaluation with a speech therapist could definitely shed some light on his current developmental level and how you can help support him in the best way!

      Reply


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